Italica -home of Game of Thrones season 7
Note: This article contains potential spoilers and thoughts about Game of Thrones Season 7 and how Italica might be used in filming.
If you've seen the trailer for the season 7 finale, you cant have missed a stunning new location added to the list of Game of Thrones locations. In the show, this is the Dragonpit, the ancient home to the Targaryen dragons when that dynasty ruled Kings Landing. We've never seen this in the show before it will home to one of the largest gatherings of named characters we have seen on screen since the Purple Wedding back in season 4.
In real life, the Dragonpit is located in Santiponce, at an old Roman ruined city on the outskirts of Seville called Italica. At one point it was one of the largest roman settlements outside of Italy. We took at an electric bike tour from Seville out to the old city, which is about 5 miles outside Seville.
As we arrived at the site back in 2015, I remember thinking how well certain areas of the site would fit into the Game of Thrones environment, but then gave it little more thought after that. After all, HBO would have to work around the potential legislation associated with constructing and filming at an historic protected site thousands of years old.
Just over a year later, we got confirmation that HBO would be filming at Santiponce, and that filming would be focused on the old Roman Amphitheatre.
The Roman Amphitheatre
Near the entrance to the site is the ruined amphitheatre, which would have been used for sports and games. The easy access to this location makes the outside an ideal spot for production trucks to base themselves.
The main entrance to the Amphitheatre is an uncovered walkthrough passage which opens out into the main arena itself.
The site also has a number of underground areas which would have used to store animals and transport competitors around the site. These are very narrow and might be difficult to film in but they are most certainly striking.
There are a number of viewing points which normally allow tourists to get panoramic views of the whole amphitheatre. These would be perfect for a variety of camera shots by the producers.
As you can, the old seated bowl of the amphitheatre has been pretty much worn away. The site certainly lends itself to somewhere ancient in Westeros or elsewhere, in that it looks very weathered
The middle of the site has ruins of the old underground area where fighters and animals were stored before being brought up to the arena. This area has now been confirmed that it will be covered during filming.
Around the top of the arena are the old walkways that the public used. Again the ruined scenery looks fantastic but I very much doubt there would be room for much filming in these very limited areas.
As you can see, this location has a very different and older look than most of the other locations on the show. When I saw it, I imagined it as old Valyria, but for now, the Dragonpit will certainly make-do for fans who want to see more of the Targaryen legacy.
The Main Street
Over on the main site nearby is the Cardus Maximus, the main street that runs through the old roman town. This runs on a slope down from the top of the site is very wide and would be perfect for one of those walk and talk scenes that the show loves so much. You could also walk a large number of people( perhaps an army) up and down and it would likely look very epic!
Unfortunately I cant find a decent picture of it at this moment, but you can see part of the street and surrounding area in the below picture.
From first hand experience, I can certainly suggest that this area is going to look fantastic on screen, no matter which parts of the site make it into the final cut. The Game of Thrones locations scouts have once again knocked it out of the park!